Professor Jim Hedtke, Ph.D., begins his daily routine at 6 a.m. as he settles himself at his dining room table and starts to write. His workday ends 11 hours later as the twilight is descending.
In the time between, the historian surrounds himself with papers and photos gathered over decades, materials he now is transforming into a book. They document a fateful day in August 1944 when the crash of an American B-24 bomber on a routine test flight changed the life of an English village forever.
Cabrini faculty step away from their daily routines to pursue fascinating projects on sabbatical.
Of course, like any long-term undertaking, sabbaticals don’t go according to plan every time. And, in a world of unexpected opportunities, that’s not always bad. Just ask Leonard Norman Primiano, Ph.D., chair and professor of the religious studies department.
If the current Lindback Award winner for Excellence in Teaching has her way, she’ll inspire each of her Cabrini students to be teachers as well as advocates in the classroom and the community.
“I hope to inspire a love of learning in my students, but also to inspire them to a life of respect for people regardless of age, social class, or background, and a desire to make the world a better place,” says Beverly Bryde, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the education department.
When Joseph Romano, Ph.D., began teaching philosophy at Cabrini in 1960, some of his current students’ parents may not yet have been born.
So he surely must have witnessed significant changes over the course of half a century, right?
For Maria Elena Hallion, Ph.D., associate professor of Exercise Science and Health Promotion at Cabrini, embracing physical fitness as a way of life and a career was a decision she clearly remembers making—when she was in high school.
“I told people then that I knew I wanted to do something with exercise, but didn’t want to be a physical-education teacher,” she says. “I had no idea that at that time, the realm of exercise science and health promotion was emerging.”
In 2008, Cabrini was one of 12 colleges and universities nationwide accepted into the 2009 Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Science Education Alliance (SEA).
Melinda Harrison, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, and David Dunbar, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, received an educational grant from HHMI, which will fund a research-based introductory biology course that debuted at Cabrini in the 2009-10 academic year.
With higher education running deep in her family, some may say that Maya Gordon, Ph.D., was destined to become an educator. Her father, grandfather, and grandmother were college professors.
She says she "inherited a legacy of teaching and mentoring." She continues that tradition and in fall 2008 became an assistant professor in Cabrini's psychology department.
“I love stories,” says Darryl Mace, Ph.D., “and that’s how I start my classes.”
Although he makes it sound simple, his stories weave intricate patterns throughout the fabric of history.
“I’ll tell my students, ‘I’ll tell you stories from people’s perspectives that will make you love history,” Mace says.
Shirley Dixon ’84 G’89 came to Cabrini College on a dare.
She had been working with the Philadelphia Housing Authority for nearly 20 years, calculating rents for tenants. Her close friends were teachers, and when they gathered, she listened as they talked for hours about students, lesson plans, and the rewards and challenges of being an educator.
One evening, when Dixon tried to steer the conversation away from teaching, one friend challenged her: “If you think teaching is so easy, why don’t you try it?”
Jerome Zurek, Ph.D., communication department chair and professor of English and communication, says that in the 36 years he has been teaching at Cabrini College, he has looked forward to coming to work nearly every day.
Over the years, he has continued to learn and develop as an instructor and mentor, and finds inspiration by tapping into the energy generated by his students. In 2005, Zurek was named Carnegie Foundation/CASE Professor of the Year for Pennsylvania.
Chair of one of Cabrini’s most popular majors. Award-winning educator. Campus leader. Former banker. Mother. Wife.
On paper, it seems that there is nothing Mary Harris, Ph.D., Chair of Cabrini’s business department and Faculty Assembly, can’t do.